This may become a bit of a recurring series. At the moment, I’m reading Bicycle on the Beach by Peter Viertel. Yes, he was my uncle, and this book seems to be a coming of age tale. My mom tells me that, while fictional, the book is largely autobiographical, and I clearly see the story of a my dad’s family, even if my dad does not appear as the protagonist’s younger brother. I must confess that there is an element “too much information” in reading about the experiences of a character who I know to represent a relative.
The story is set in Santa Monica Canyon in the 1930’s and it tells the story of Carl Woolf as he struggles to grow up. As a teen, he has embraced American culture to a greater extent than his father, a Jewish intellectual and his Trotskyite older brother. It’s his practical mother who sees to the provision for the family.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to write a truly objective review of this story, as it is , in many ways a story of my heritage, but it will be interesting to see where it goes.